Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Attention, Please

We were supposed to go birding this morning, but we can't find the binoculars.

I've been looking for them off and on for a few months now. We've looked in all the backpacks, the car, the cedar chests, the sideboard, the toy box, all the closets, the larger desk drawers, both wardrobes, and the sewing box. The only reason we haven't looked in every cupboard and cabinet in the house is that I took everything out of all the ones in the kitchen during Kitchen Sanitation Month, and the binoculars have been missing since before then. I think we've both been assuming up to now that, when I looked for them, I was suffering that peculiar form of blindness that prevents one from seeing what one is looking for even when it's right there, and that as soon as my husband went looking for them, he'd find them in a place where I'd looked a dozen times. But no, he's as stumped and frustrated as I am.

I've even asked the fairies to bring them back more than once, since this is obviously one of their practical jokes, but this normally foolproof method has so far been ineffective. At this point, we're resigned. We'll find them, by accident, either in a place it's impossible for them to be, or in a perfectly logical one where we've both looked many times, eventually. And it turns out to be too windy for good birding today, anyhow.

So how, the fellow birdwatchers out there are asking, does one go about losing something as vital to daily life as binoculars?

Well, it's a three stage process. First, you go through a period of Health Crap during which you can't go birding without making yourself ill. (That part where you're walking and leaning backward trying to keep the bird in sight long enough to get its fieldmarks before it flies off? Impossible to do when your gyroscope is out.) Second, you become accustomed to thinking of yourself as an invalid and stop trying. Third, you stop paying attention.

You don't actually need Steps One and Two. Step Three is enough.

Once, in an e-mail exchange with Elaine Marie Alphin, I mentioned casually that Identity was her big theme, and made a comment about the way all the characters in Simon Says are simultaneously three-dimensional characters in their own right, and fragments of the same person - specifically, the same creative artist. She told me I was the first person ever to notice that. I can't believe I was the first, though I probably was the first to ever mention it to her. I can easily believe that most people aren't paying close enough attention to catch everything that's going on in that marvelous, difficult, painfully insightful book.

My premiere playtester's recent reports on Widespot have been full of wonderful little details of gameplay, like this one: I put a doll that looks like a voodoo doll into the house and Candy and Lana talk to each other through it whenever they get into a fight... the loser seeking out the winner with the doll (and only that doll). There's a message there, and it ain't exactly a subtle one. She's always noticing things like that. Other people are talking about their sim weddings, engagements, adulteries, promotions, progress in their businesses, and whatnot, and she's repeating stuff like that which make her characters feel twice as alive as anybody else's.

Everything is better when you pay attention.

We should all do it more.

Happy Christmas, y'all.

1 comment:

  1. We had a moment of forgetfulness last night when we misplaced one of the gifts we had for our kids. Turns out it was in our winter trunk which we don't look in too often. We still don't know how it got there. Happy Christmas to you.